Twenty Years.

Frogs bring good luck.

Frogs bring good luck.

That’s a long time–not as long as my parents (55 years) or my in-laws (52 years), but impressive, I think, when 50% of marriages end for a reason besides old age. With multiple kids playing multiple sports, I understand how this anniversary can slip by, under-celebrated.

I looked for bargain airfares. Sailboats, beaches, and Margaritas beckoned but ultimately, we decided that rearranging childcare and transport for 6 games was too much work for too much money. Don’t call me a curmudgeon just yet. The romantic lives on.

Tonight, we celebrated the last day of school at a favorite restaurant, Glockenspiel in St. Paul (Jen, our favorite bartender always works on Tuesday nights). The banter was familiar, the Hefeweizen cold even though it’d been almost a year since our last visit (yes, we grew up Catholic). Tonight got us reminiscing about where we used to hang out — before kids, with flight benefits, and even now.

We’ve lasted longer than many of our employers or favorite haunts. All Saints Brands was a pre-internet importer and distributor of Nicolas Feuillatte Champagne, Gaja Barolo, and funky, tasty beer that was difficult to sell (Rogue Ales, Bells Brewery, and Geary’s). Northwest Airlines was gutted, sold off, and moved south. I still miss the flight benefits, though (the Replacements European tour seemed irresistible until i priced out the airfare).

But enough with the work stories: what about the beer? the tapas? the amuse-bouches?

Who’s left? Who’s gone? Who’s changed?


Pracna on Main, Minneapolis:  best gin and tonics (and where I met my husband)

Ciatti’s on Grand, St. Paul:  best cheap, late-night happy hour

Grandpa Tony’s on Randolph, St. Paul:  thank goodness there are other pizza joints

The 510 on Groveland, Minneapolis:  (sigh) truly missed:  impeccable service, linen tablecloths, and fantastic wine list

Around, but different:

Italian Pie Shoppe, St. Paul:  moved down the street to Macalester

La Cucaracha, Minneapolis:  gone, but still on Dale in St. Paul

Half Time Rec, St. Paul:  they serve food now!

Still clucking:

Frog et Rosbif, Paris:  English-style ales since 1993

First Avenue, Minneapolis:  many derivations and bleeding ears since 1970

Micky’s Diner, St.. Paul:  greasy eggs for over 70 years

Paradiso, Amsterdam:  a former church that became a creative center in 1968

W.A. Frost, St. Paul:  best patio, smallest keg room

Sara Geneva Noreau Kerr:

The very least that should occur!

Originally posted on Dr. Rebecca Hains:

"I hate my thighs" onesie

Yesterday, NYU employee Jason Y. Evans snapped this photo of an “I hate my thighs” onesie for infant girls in the NYU bookstore.

He alerted several student and alumni groups, and they complained to the bookstore. In fewer than eight hours, the bookstore had removed the onesie from its shelves.

To many, however, it’s shocking a university bookstore had stocked the item in the first place. It’s the same onesie that made internationalheadlines two weeks ago after being roundly condemned by critics for body-shaming baby girls. The t-shirt’s producer responded to that original controversy in a tone-deaf (or perhaps intentionally baiting) way, claiming it was “ironic,” adding further fuel to the fire.

Evan’s photograph has prompted another round of attention for the onesie in part because of the contrast between the girls’ body-shaming onesie and the boys’ “I’m super” onesie. Their presentation together underscores the differences in girls’ and boys’ socialization regarding self-esteem and body satisfaction in a…

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Roof top Art ParkThe Roof Top Art Park debuted in 2003 at the Minnesota Children’s Museum. Do you remember when exactly? I do —  I was there with son number one.

He said, “I’m up top, Mama! Come up! Come up!”

“No can do,” I thought peering down at my round midsection — at 9 months pregnant I was impressed that I even visited the museum.

Son number two arrived that night, which is why I know exactly when the Rooftop Art Park opened. This playful visit is just one in a long series that illustrates the Minnesota Children’s Museum role in my family’s upbringing. Like many Minnesota families, I can chart my children’s growth by their mastery of skills such as blowing bubbles, shopping a grocery store, or making kimchi in the Our World Gallery.

Play at homePlaying at the Minnesota Children’s Museum meant more playing at home. The open-ended play in the galleries sparked the same kind of creativity in my dining room.

I’m just really glad I invested in a waterproof table-cloth…

Why Play is Important

Play fosters creativity.  I teach an MBA class at St. Catherine University in creativity and innovation because business requires creative thinking to solve problems like water scarcity or food spoilage. See my #MBA6410 tweets to see what goes on in that class. I’ll give you a hint:  we play, experiment, and test ideas.

A business whose only ambition is to continue doing tomorrow what they did yesterday, will wither as both its competitors and customers change around it. The central role of creativity in business survival was recognized in an IBM survey of more than 1,500 chief executive officers from 60 countries. They reported that – more than rigor, management discipline, or even vision – successfully navigating an increasing complex world will require creativity.

What Is Creativity’s Value–In Marketing, In Business? Forbes, 10/04/2010

Taking Play a Step Further

Championing the role of play and creativity in business brings me a new adventure. I’m still encouraging play, but today it’s from a new perspective as the director of content and communications at the Minnesota Children’s Museum.CJamThumb

Creativity:  Thinking of alternative ways to do something, or altering a step to change the result, displays a child’s ability to be innovative-the wave of the future. New ideas, tomorrow’s inventions, the next, big innovative thing is often sparked by an unusual and creative idea.

Play and the 7 Cs. Minnesota Children’s Museum MCM.org

In my new role, I direct the content and communication strategies of the museum as we truly engage with families in their online spaces and, of course, throughout the museum.

Today’s Children are Tomorrow’s Leaders

Help me support the power of play by visiting the museum and donating to fund our amazing expansion.

Looking ahead to the next 30 years, and what living, working and contributing in the 21st century requires, we determined that constructing and developing the proficiencies and skills your child will call upon and use daily to succeed in school and in life would be our focus. There are seven proficiencies which is not a fun name so after a raise of hands we chose to call them “The 7C’s.”

These seven “tools” are consistently viewed as crucial and necessary for success in the 21st century by researchers and Fortune 500 company executives. And amazingly so, these tools begin to surface in early childhood and are first developed through play!

Play and the 7 Cs. Minnesota Children’s Museum


My nonna used to terrify me with a story of falling through thin ice on a Massachusetts’s pond. Despite growing up on figure skates, I won’t skate across a lake unless it’s been below zero for 3 weeks or more. I’m definitely risk adverse when it comes to ice.

Pea Soup and Deep Cracks

Saturday’s fog and ice on Cross Lake in Pine City was ethereal and amazing–thick, too. We spent the whole day shoveling, exploring, sluicing, and drying off. Once the snow melted, I found sea weed suspended in ice, intricate waves of cracks, and a few deep cracks. With 8 inches of ice, I felt pretty safe.



It depends on how you define, best, of course.

It’s also a great question to ask college students, which I’ll do tomorrow. (And yes, I’ll give extra credit points to anyone from class who comments on this blog, today). If I asked my students in September to find the best Tweet ever, they probably would have cited (but not in APA style) Buzzfeed or the Huffington Post:

The 19 Most Epic Tweets Ever Tweeted (Buzzfeed)


Here Are The 22 Coolest Tweets Ever, According To Twitter (Huffingtonpost)


What’s best in regard to marketing?

The Tweets above are excellent:  not too wordy, great photos, and emotionally satisfying. Both Tweets also communicate the Tweeters’ personal brands. But the Tweets on the HuffPost and Twitter lists were not selected for their branding, but for the powerful way they communicated to fellow Tweeters. However, my favorite brand Tweet is on Twitter’s list. Oreo tells the best brand story and demonstrates marketing agility with this famous Tweet:


For marketing expertise using Twitter, my students should be turning to business sources such as Adweek and Mashable.com.

Hint, hint, here are two good lists:

Here Are the Finalists for the Year’s Best Brands on Twitter, Vine and Everywhere Else Shorty Awards contenders span all of social media (Adweek)


The 10 Best Marketing Tweets I’ve Ever Seen (Melanie Curtin via LinkedIn)

My favorite on the list is the faux feud between Old Spice and Taco Bell. These are two brands that understand Twitter is about conversing with fans vs. shouting at them.

Taco Bell and Old Spiceoldspice and tacobell

Taco Bell and Old Spice are well known in the world of tweet-marketing, not only for their own individual brilliance, but the bright light of their combined ingenuity. This exchange, for example, should win some kind of joint prize:


Travel = Museums

IMG_4549When I was 16 I wanted to see the Mona Lisa, in person. Travel means art museums. At home, like many people, I forget what’s in my backyard. Thankfully the Minneapolis Institute of Arts just send me a few emails reminding me of their new exhibit, Italian Style:  Fashion Since 1945.

Fantastic marketers, the MIA employs direct marketing via email and social media, such as their Facebook page and videos, to remind art lovers to visit. Getting there is only part of the marketing journey; consider the brochures, catalogs, and signage one encounters at a museum, as well. In fact, I have rather large box of postcards from museums I’ve visited all over the world.

Art in Your Backyard

Yesterday, I took my marketing communications students to the Catherine G. Murphy Gallery yesterday to understand the role of artists statements as supplemental media. In preparation, they read two different perspectives on this type of writing:

And then wrote their own about Adé Bethune: The Power of One Person and the Great Mother of Islam.

The Catherine G. Murphy Gallery is free and open every day. Plan your visit, soon.

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Sara Geneva Noreau Kerr:

What’s your perspective on how we watch “television” today?

Originally posted on Hannah Kathryne:

Ten years ago you would have been told you were crazy for thinking you could watch a whole television series on the internet.

The idea of streaming movies online was fairly new if not unheard of. Netflix has been a revolutionary and their profits are living proof of that.

Creative Commons License.  Matt Perreault Creative Commons License. Matt Perreault

Fewer and fewer people actually watch TV when it is happening and it is moving over to digital media.People are busier than ever and the ability to take your work home with you only takes away from the typical time american families used to spend sitting by the television.

Satellite and cable companies are fading away, because you can choose what you want to watch when you want to watch for a lower price. You don’t need special equipment to watch Netflix, you can use your phone, tablet, laptop, or a device that streams internet content…

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